No bank spared in ATM cash crimes

A spate of crimes at Sea Point ATMs has local police carrying out crime prevention operations.

The card fraud has been taking place at several ATMs on Main and Regent roads, explains Sea Point police station commander Colonel Maehla Lento.

This type of crime does pop up during the course of the year, but there has been a sharp increase with the festive season upon us, he says.

Incidents at ATMs in the area have “become rife”, says Heather Tager, chairperson of the Sea Point Community Police Forum.

“Especially now it is the busy season and the holiday makers are arriving. The criminals seem to target the tourists and vulnerable elderly,” she says.

There have been incidents at all the banks in the area, although the ATM at a convenience store in Glengarrif Road is a hotspot, Tager says.

Crime at this ATM saw eight people robbed within six months last year (“ATMs a fraud hotspot”, People’s Post, 9 September 2014).

Police believe the criminals are working in organised groups or syndicates.

“There are a number of operations (against ATM crime) initiated and there are dedicated detectives for a focused approach,” Lento says.

Safety tipsLento recommends community members adhere to basic ATM safety by never accepting help from strangers and reporting any suspicious behaviour to the police.

“If they feel uncomfortable at any point, they must rather go to the next ATM where they feel more safe,” he says.

Residents should never allow their card to be removed from their sight, Tager says.

“Don’t ever accept help from strangers or give out your pin number, not even to persons claiming to be bank officials. Watch out for people standing very close to you and looking over your shoulder as you type your pin. Always ensure that you cover the keypad whilst typing your pin and don’t be distracted by anyone,” she says. “When stuck, follow the instructions provided on the ATM machine.”

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